Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Long Shadow of Little Shire-folk

You may have heard me mention what a rabid Conan the Barbarian fan I was growing up.  How I discovered him in the comic shop near where I lived.  How, later, rummaging in one of Portland, Oregon's many used book stores, I discovered something so fantastically amazing, so utterly, breathtakingly bizarre that I'm sure my 11 year old brain flipped inside my head.  In fact I'm pretty sure the world spun:  There was a whole section of sword and sorcery books (conveniently placed nearby "Conan's novels") that did not star my favorite barbarian.  They were called fantasy novels.

What in... THE HELL????  Where did all these come from?

Well, I was hooked.  And soon thereafter I discovered my new hero - actually it was a family of heroic little guys that went by the name of Baggins - Again, soon thereafter, my little twelve year old imagination began to wonder what went into making a world like that.  I began to draw maps, and make up hero names.  Not like Baggins or Brandybuck.  More like Kickbutticus MacSwordbreaker.  And I begain to wonder:  is it possible to write a story like that?  I doubted it.  I mean, I went to the bookstore and the shelves were all full.  Just stuffed end to end.  It didn't seem like they needed any more books.  I even asked the guy at the register - which turned into an embarassing scene that ended in my running home and telling my mother, "I don't want to talk about it, mom!"

Still my mind returned to the notion:  could my boook ever be up there next to The Hobbit? 

The answer would eventually be yes.  Sort of, lol.  This morning... I could not believe it.  Seriously.  I had to refresh the page - imagine my heart-numbing shock when I woke to find Mandragon ranked right under The Hobbit.

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